Sunday, April 11, 2010

Perrier's Bounty (2009)

Perrier's Bounty is not the Irish Snatch (somebody, somewhere must have made this porno), but somehow I wish it was. What starts off as an off-beat, super-fast paced pseudo-gangster flick turns into a bloated, unfunny mess that makes absolutely no sense.

Cillian Murphy (one of our favourite actors here at Cinewise) plays Michael McCrea. He owes money to the local mob boss Darren Perrier (Brendan Gleeson, who gives his usual best) and unless he pays by midnight, two of his goons will break his bones. Desperate, he asks a loan-shark to help him out and gets involved in a break-in, which ends up a blackmail operation that will earn him more money than he owes. So far so good. However, when he misses the deadline at midnight the two goons show up at his door to break his bones. Michael's neighbour - freshly dumped by boyfriend, literally girl-next-door - kills one of them in the hallway. Now Michael not only owes money to Perrier, but he is also involved in the death of one of his men. With the help of his voluntary-insomniac father ('the Reaper' told him that next time he falls asleep he will die - cue Jim Broadbent munching on Nescafe straight from the jar) they bury the body up on a hill overlooking Dublin. In order to avenge his fallen man, Perrier puts a bounty on Michael's head, unbeknownst to the trio.

This is the first 30 minutes of the film.

Now, comes the meat - or lack thereof. With all this information crammed into the first half, the film was always going to struggle to keep the pace. And unlike a couple of early Guy Ritchie films, Mark O'Rowe's script lacks the multitude of interesting characters that would make up for a non-plot. Ian Fitzgibbon's direction is fairly straightforward too, so there are no visual gimmicks to keep us interested either. The story just crawls along from one uninspired set-piece to another. It brings together all of its characters in very convenient coincidences and the story ends in the most conventional fashion. So much promise, wasted away.

Then there is the voice-over. The fact that the finale is pretty much revealed verbatim midway through the film is annoyance of the highest order. Upon hearing Gabriel Byrne's voice, I was expecting so much more - think about it: it starts off with his voice-over, the camera hovers along the streets of Dublin, two goons break in to our protagonist's home, he has daddy issues, he (kinda, sorta) plays two sides against each other ... it's Miller's Crossing and The Big Lebowski  mixed in together with all the good parts taken out. Sadly, it's even worse than that. 

The acting from the three leads is solid and that is probably the only thing going for it, really. I think if I were given the choice, I would rather watch Irish Snatch (if it exists ...).

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